Bank fondly remembers time spent with Santo

Bank fondly remembers time spent with Santo

ST. LOUIS -- There isn't a day that goes by that Cubs traveling secretary Jimmy Bank doesn't miss his friend, Ron Santo, who on Sunday will be inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame.

Santo passed away one year before he was elected into Cooperstown, but on Sunday, his family and Cubs fans will celebrate the enshrinement.

Bank and Santo were together for 18 years with the Cubs, and they had dinner nearly every night on the road together. They also were very entertaining. Bank often would be sitting right behind Santo on the bus, or immediately next to him at an Italian restaurant, and call him. And it would take some time for Santo to figure out it was Bank on the line.

"We go into a city like this, where we spent so much time," Bank said of St. Louis, "and the bus driver here who we've had for years was one of two or three bus drivers who, when Ronnie passed away, called me and said, 'Hey, we're going to miss hearing you guys on the bus.'"

To Cubs fans, Santo was a great third baseman or a passionate broadcaster, sharing the team's highs and lows on WGN Radio. To Bank, he was a buddy.

"I didn't think of Ronnie as the ballplayer, the broadcaster," Bank said Saturday. "He was a friend who we had a lot of fun with. As I've told many people, I miss my friend. Ronnie was as good-hearted as anybody. He was fun, loyal, funny, even when he wanted to be funny. He was funnier when he didn't want to be. I don't have to even say this, but the Cubs were such a passion to him."

Santo was devoted to his fans, many of whom went to Cooperstown to watch the ceremony Sunday.

"I'd say, 'Hey, Ronnie, let's go, we've got to get on the bus,' and he'd say, 'No, I'm signing. These are Cubs fans,'" Bank said. "I was fortunate that I knew him for the person that he was. The millions of fans who knew him as a player and broadcaster were very fortunate to know him, too."